Ardry crested a ridge and saw the grey, mottled hills and valleys of the Olthoi-infested lands spread out beneath him, now dusted with the long-delayed first snow of winter. For as far as the eye could see, this corner of Dereth had been taken over by the insect menace, a living artifact to the days when all of Dereth's Isparian population had been enslaved by the Olthoi. Other threats had come and gone, other would-be conquerors of Dereth had risen and fallen in the years since humanity's escape, but for Ardry and many other early arrivals on Dereth, there was no getting over the primal terror of being chased down long, dark tunnels by giant insects with spear-like limbs and acid breath.
Which is why, of course, he felt especially resentful about being sent up here on another survey by his employers. Grumbling to himself, he began setting up camp to prepare for another foray into the domain of the insects. He started a fire and set his customary tea kettle to heat up while he laid out a tent and bedroll and cleaned and polished his weapons. When the water was hot, he surveyed his maps of the region. Not that he hadn't been through these parts a hundred times before, but the comforting two-dimensional orderliness of maps always calmed him while he was contemplating another breathtaking escape run across Olthoi territory.
When he was done making his preparations, he poured some more tea into an insulated flask and trudged over the ridge to the next valley, making for a small tent on a spur of hill with a flag fluttering atop it. After a few minutes of hiking, he was within hailing distance of the two men stationed by the tent, a soldier and a merchant.
The soldier, sharp-eyed as he was, spotted them first. He waved a hand and called out, “Hail, Ardry! Been a while, old friend!”
Ardry jogged the remaining few yards to their camp and clasped hands with the soldier. “Can't say I'm happy to be back in this gods-forsaken corner of the island, Ethan, but it's good to see you again.”
“What brings you here this time, Ardry?” the merchant asked him as they greeted each other.
Ardry grimaced. “The worst kind of paper-pushing nonsense, Hisham,” he sighed. “I'm supposed to check on a survey point laid out by the Explorers Society, not that far from here, on the southern edge of the infestation. I'm not even the one leaving the marker, I'm just supposed to double-check their work. Make sure their charts are correct.”
Ardry and Ethan were both old campaigners with a long and rich history of getting chased across the landscape at the behest of old men issuing orders from comfortable sitting rooms. They shared an exasperated, if sympathetic, eye roll while Hisham just chuckled.
“Anyway,” Ardry continued, “I've brought some tea to help you two warm up, now that winter's finally arrived…” He drew the flask out and handed it to Hisham, who sighed gratefully at the warmth of the flask.
“You're a lifesaver, Ardry,” Ethan said. “I take it you've got some news on larger events as well?”
Ardry nodded. “The Blight has been defeated, and the scholars say that the failed uprising of T'thuun has thrown the Falatacot gods and priests into a chaotic state. They'll be so busy trying to knife each other over the rubble of T'thuun's broken totems that it may be a while before one of them can become strong enough to become such a threat again… Even though T'thuun's still got some minions running around and we may never be able to fully stamp out his ambitions. They'll require vigilance from all of the high muckety-mucks who can read those map lines. And, yes, the defeat of T'thuun means that winter's finally come.”
“Well, aside from the prospect of the island disintegrating under geomantic instability, it was awful nice to have a break from the snow,” Ethan said wistfully as he accepted a mug of hot tea that Hisham had poured out from the flask.
“I hear you, friend,” Ardry said. “But really, we should be grateful.” Out of habit, Ardry patted the belt pouch where his compass and sextant and writing materials were kept. “I should get going. The sooner I can check out this map point, the sooner I can get myself back to civilization.”
Hisham spoke up. “Before you go, Ardry, I'd like you to take a look at something…”
Ardry groaned. “Let me guess. There's some kind of exotic new gland growing in the guts of Olthoi because of the ley line disturbances and the whole world needs me to go charging into that valley, kill a hundred Olthoi in the hopes of finding one intact, un-punctured gland, and extract it out of a squirming mass of acid-belching insect innards…”
Hisham practically fell over laughing. “What a paranoid one you are, Ardry! You can relax. I just stocked some nice new pants. Wanted to see what your opinion on them was.”
War had come to the stronghold of the Radiant Blood.
On a rugged plain crisscrossed with hills and ridges, an army of invading creatures surged through trenches between great stone towers enchanted with powerful defenses. The towers had stood against numberless waves of attacking creatures. The first waves had been mere fodder, little more than beasts of the field, driven into the teeth of the towers' defenses to probe the fortifications and expend the resources of the defenders. They had perished quickly, perforated with murderous rains of arrows and devastated by fireball blasts.
The next wave of creatures, more powerful than the last, stepped over the corpses of their forgotten predecessors and grimly continued the attack, as relentless and remorseless in their way as the defenders of the towers were. More powerful enemies required more advanced tactics, and the defenders began to deploy new and more powerful weapons: traps to surprise and wound the creatures as they slogged through the mud and muck of the blood-soaked, fire-blasted battlefield, and massive ring spells of magical destruction to devastate clusters of the creatures who stumbled too close.
The toll of dead attackers rose higher and higher while their replacements kept streaming in. The warlord in control of the defense had lost track of the amount of time he'd spent here, juggling the limited resources at his command with the demands of the fight. He was faced with a growing dilemma: his resources were shrinking while the invader seemed to get stronger and stronger. From time to time the invaders sent out champions to rally their forces, drawing extra fire from the tower and occupying the attention of the defenders. The enemy was marshalling its most powerful shock troops for a final devastating charge, one that would shake the battlefield to its foundations and break the already-straining resources of the defenders.
There was a brief pause in the action, and the warlord looked up. It looked like the enemy was playing for keeps now. A phalanx of elite Shadow soldiers had expired in a maelstrom of concentrated fireballs. The smoke cleared from the site of that conflagration, and a black shadow stepped forth, a more foul and dangerous presence than the warlord had seen before. It towered over its own allies. It was a bat-winged demon, with a great horned head and ancient eyes filled with wrath. Bael'Zharon, the Hopeslayer, the long-remembered fiend who had threatened the lives of Isparian and Empyrean alike. The warlord looked out across the field as this new terror strode onto the field of battle, and sucked in his breath.
“Bael'zharon himself! Unbelievable!” He shook away his shock and began to consider how to deploy the last few resources he had left to combat the demon lord. He was not confident. He had planned poorly.
The entire battleground shook, and a shockwave seemed to sweep the creatures that still stood, knocking them to the ground. Even the great Bael'Zharon was felled by this wave. The towers themselves went dark and inert, their defenders suddenly vacated. Darkness settled over the battlefield.
The warlord surveyed the devastation and sighed. It was inevitable…
A voice spoke behind him, the Tactical Officer of the Radiant Blood. “Time's up! Someone else gets a shot now. Did you enjoy the game?”
Hello there and welcome to the January edition of the Asheron's Call Release Notes! As we all shake off the post-Holiday back to work//school blues, lets check out what is new and exciting this month in Asheron's Call.
Updated Content and Functionality
· A new tower defense type game has been added to Dereth. This is a test of strategy intended for Society Masters. Rank up and make sure you check it out!
· A new daily kill task has been added which will have shifting objectives each month.
· High yield chests should no longer drop dinnerware in their primary profiles though they still have a very small chance at dinnerware in their secondary profile.
· Weapons with new tier stats in 420 and 400 wield should be far more common.
· Armor sets now have a higher chance of dropping.
· All armor sets now have an equal chance of dropping instead of favoring some over others, now get out there and complete your sets!
· The first part of a new expanding exploration quest has been added to the world. Get out there and find the first markers!
· A bug with the Blind Snowman quest has been fixed.
· Monster fights have been adjusted and should now be functioning more as they were intended to.
· The snow is here!
· The Snowmen have finally started to appear on the landscape. The scarecrows have gone in until next season.
· You can now turn in Runed weapons for experience in that weapon skill
So there are just some of the things we have in store for Asheron's Call in January. Please remember that along with everything listed here, there are several new quests and exciting things going into the game for the January event.
Q: There was no indication at all that it ended. The token NPC unspawned, etc, but there was no 'It's over'. There is either no prize for playing, or I lost.. not sure which. There doesn't have to be a prize (the concept is cool by itself), but there should be some feedback or conclusion. How did I do?
A: You lost, if 50 monsters make it to the end you lose, at that point the towers despawn as does the token guy and any remaining monsters continue to wander as they are cleaned up.
If you win a reward guy shows up near the coin npc.
Q: THE REASON WHY our counts are off is because the game starts "cleaning up" monsters WAY before we think it does.
A: Yes, to explain it slightly differently though. The clean up starts targetting creatures at this corner (the corner closest to the cave). It will have time to kill a few creatures from this point to the cave.
This does not mean every creature that reaches this point is counted as escaped, you still can get kills in past this point. Also this still leaves the vast majority of the map to kill the creatures.
Q: Are there any plans for a solo way to get Colosseum Coins?
A: The toughest part of a solo colosseum is balancing it for all the classes. It's very difficult to make one thing that will be just as difficult for mages/melees/archers and seeing melee DPS is generally lower than mages and archers (due to melee damage mitigation aka shields).
On that line of thought we're thinking we'll need to make 3 separate runs, one balanced for each attack type. This of course will increase the time necessary to implement these solo colosseum. However it will allow us to make each run more viable for the specific attack type it's intended for. However it'll still be extremely difficult to balance seeing just in the melee family you can have many different builds that use different mixes of items and magic that will greatly sway solo balance.
As another note the current thought is that you will not be allowed to enter a solo colosseum with rares in your pack and the colosseums will be balanced for not using rares. This is most important in things like an archer colosseum where a bow rare would extravagantly increase the players DPS and make it far easier to complete. Also this should give players of all wealth levels equal ability to complete runs.
We currently do not have an ETA on solo colosseums. We're still evaluating the various difficulties we'll need to overcome to make them happen (for instance we'll most likely want to make more than 5 of them so that not only 5 people can actually run them at a time. I also think that we'd want to reduce the run time down to something closer to 20-30 minutes tops or make it a completion competitions rather than a timed competition where finishing at all is the goal instead of how quickly one can finish).
If you win a reward guy shows up near the coin npc.
Q: All I'm seeing are protection sets. Can you please put the profiles back to how they used to be?
A: Protection sets are simply more common now. Other sets are either just as common or more common than they used to be as well. All sets have exactly the same % chance of dropping.
I'll put it this way, the protection set pieces you find now would have been items with no set qualities on them before.
Like I said about banes, there's simply 7 of these so of course you're going to be more likely to see one of them than another set. The percentages on protection sets were so low before that if anyone wanted to make a protection set the most likely would have taken at least 3-5 times as many pulls to finish as any other set.
Q: I would have preferred only 2 sets for the protections. One for physicals and one for elements.
A: I'll look at the numbers and see if that's feasible. The prot sets though potentially powerful are not very useful as they'll only assist you in specific situations and it's tough to make an entirely different set of armor just for some odd situations. Let alone making another set of armor with set spells outside of your normal armor with set spells.
Q: In the mana forge chests if only Tier 400 420 weapons drop, why do all seven tiers of covenant drop?
A: I have a list of things that need looking at for loot profiles. I'll throw this on there. We've plucked most of the low hanging fruit on the profiles, it's looking like further changes will require a major investment. However the more that seems to need changing the more valuable the change will be because as it's far less time consuming to do a fair number of loot changes at the same time then to do them one at a time.
Covenant is already hard enough to get with the things you need on it let alone having to worry about getting an al 100 piece.